SMS number formats

What kind of number formats are available for SMS?

  • Short code
  • Local number format
  • International number format
  • Long code
  • Alphanumeric number format

    An SMS message has two numbers a sender and a receiver address. The sender address can be any of the above, the receiver address can be a short code a local number, an international number or a long code. SMS messages cannot be sent to alphanumeric addresses.

    What is a short code?

    A 4 or 5 digit number, e.g.: 1544

    A short code number contains digits only, it is never preceded with a plus sign. It is often used by widely advertised SMS services. It's advantage is it's simplicity.

    It's drawback is that a short code works only in the network of a single a mobile operator or in a single country (if the mobile network operators have distributed the available short code numbers among each other and are routing messages sent to short codes to the appropriate network). Short codes are never routed internationally.

    What is the local number format?

    A number that does not start with a country code, e.g.: 06201234567

    An SMS number specified in the local number format contains digits only, it is never preceded with a plus sign. It often contains a network prefix, that identifies the mobile network operator, but it does not contain a country code.

    A local number format can be used inside the country to send an SMS message from one phone to another. Messages sent to telephone numbers specified in the local number format are not routed internationally.

    What is international number format?

    The most widely used telephone number format. It starts with a plus sign and a country code, that is followed by a network prefix and the phone number itself. e.g.: +36201234567

    A telephone number specified in the international number format is routed internationally. This means, that any mobile phone can be addressed this way. If an SMS message is sent to a cellphone it is best to use the International number format.

    For example to send an SMS to a mobile number in the U.S.A. from abroad you should provide the cellphone number in International format. This would mean that +12143500649 would be typed, where +1 is the country code, 214 is the network prefix and 3500649 is the phone number itself. We have used the U.S.A. in this example on purpose, because people in the U.S. are often not aware that there are other countries in the world, and they tend to miss their country code while typing an SMS. E.g.: they type +2143500649 instead of +12143500649, then they complain it's not workin'. :)

    What is a long code number?

    Long code means that the telephone number is longer than the standard phone number length in the network. e.g.: +36201234567111111

    In this case, a freely defined postfix is appended to the phone number itself. This feature is available in some networks only. It is very useful because the postfix part of the telephone number can by used to carry a unique message id, that can be used by applications. For example, if the phone number is +36201234567, and a message is sent to +36201234567111111 where 111111 is the postfix. The recipient, can use the 111111 postfix to process the message content by the appropriate business logix.

    Long code numbers are only available on IP SMS connections (such as SMPP, UCP, CIMD2). The GSM modem technology does not permit this. If you use a GSM modem, you can only receive messages on the appropriate MSISDN number.

    What is the alphanumeric number format?

    A sender address that contains text instead of a phone number, e.g.: ozeki

    If an SMS is sent from an IP SMS connection, the sender address can freely be specified. For the sender address, you can not only define a telephone number, but a text can also be set. For example you can specify your nickname or the company name as the message sender. This message sender ID cannot contain more then 11 characters if alphanumeric sender address is used. The characters can be Latin characters only.

    If an SMS message is sent using an alphanumeric sender address, the recipient of the message cannot reply to it.

    More information

    Most popular

    If you are insterested in how to setup automated SMS notifications, you should apply one of the following configurations:

    SMS through HTTP requests
    SMS from E-mail
    SMS from the command line
    SMS using txt files

    If you are a software developer you can proceed to adding SMS functionality to your source code by clicking on one of the following links:

    PHP SMS example
    C# SMS example
    ASP SMS example
    SQL SMS example
    Delphi SMS example

    If you would like to send and receive SMS messages from MS Office applications, please check out the following links:

    Send SMS from MS Excel
    Send SMS from MS Outlook
    Check out Ozeki SMS Client